IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/diw/diwwpp/dp546.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An Experimental Evaluation of Popular Well-Being Measures

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Kroh

Abstract

Drawing on data from two multitrait multimethod experiments carried out in the context of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), this paper identifies questionnaire designs that minimize measurement error in reports of subjective well-being. Among the survey instruments most often used to measure well-being, the analysis focuses on three response formats (11-point, 7-point and magnitude satisfaction scales) and three modes of data collection (self-administered paperand-pencil questionnaires (SAQ), personal paper-and-pencil interviews (PAPI) and computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI)). Results show that both the choice of a response format and the choice of a mode of data collection make a difference in terms of measurement error: The 11-point satisfaction scale and both CAPI and PAPI improve the quality of subjective well-being data. The paper also reports differences between response formats in terms of their ease of administration and illustrates that the choice of a survey instrument affects conclusions drawn from applied well-being research.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Kroh, 2006. "An Experimental Evaluation of Popular Well-Being Measures," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 546, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp546
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.43968.de/dp546.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. M. Stones & A. Kozma, 1985. "Structural relationships among happiness scales: A second order factorial study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 19-28, July.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    3. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    4. Bernard M.S. van Praag & Paul Frijters, 1999. "The measurement of welfare and well-being; the Leyden approach," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 071a, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    5. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    6. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    7. Randy Larsen & Ed Diener & Robert Emmons, 1985. "An evaluation of subjective well-being measures," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, July.
    8. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    9. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, January.
    10. Duane F. Alwin, 1997. "Feeling Thermometers Versus 7-Point Scales," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 25(3), pages 318-340, February.
    11. Ulf Olsson, 1979. "Maximum likelihood estimation of the polychoric correlation coefficient," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 443-460, December.
    12. Willem E. Saris, 2001. "The Strength of the Causal Relationship between Living Conditions and Satisfaction," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 30(1), pages 11-34, August.
    13. Martin Kroh, 2005. "Surveying the Left-Right Dimension: The Choice of a Response Format," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 491, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Annette C. Scherpenzeel & Willem E. Saris, 1997. "The Validity and Reliability of Survey Questions," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 25(3), pages 341-383, February.
    15. James Steiger & Alexander Shapiro & Michael Browne, 1985. "On the multivariate asymptotic distribution of sequential Chi-square statistics," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 253-263, September.
    16. Willem Saris, 1988. "A measurement model for psychophysical scaling," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 417-433, December.
    17. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    18. Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp546. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/diwbede.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.